Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mentoring--No Foolin'

This week, I'm off to Tulsa, Oklahoma for DiAnn Mills Intensive Fiction Mentoring Clinic. It's gonna be tough, I have no doubt. But if I can push my writing to the next level, it'll be worth it. There will be both published and unpublished authors in this small group. After all, you never stop learning. We should always strive to be better. To hone our craft.

Agent Chip MacGregor says one of the best things a writer can do is find a mentor. That mentor doesn't have to be some multi-published author, just someone further into their writing journey. As a novice writer, I learned that if you surround yourself with people who are at the same level as yourself, you won't grow. You become comfortable because there is no one to push you. Pushing is good. Not necessarily fun though. Especially when you're standing at the edge of a cliff, looking into that massive chasm below. Yet it's then that we learn to fly.

The flip side to mentoring, is being one yourself. Every day, people decide to try their hand at writing. Some give up, some strive to learn. You never know when God may put someone in your path.

My precious friend, and one of my mentors, Lena Nelson Dooley, told us at critique group a few weeks ago about an incident at a local coffee shop. She was sitting at a table, talking quietly with a lady from her church. The topic of writing came up, and though their voices were low, the gentleman at the next table leaned over and said, "Are you talking about Christian Fiction?" Turned out, he was a new writer--writing Christian fiction. No longer was he a small fish all alone in a really big pond. Lena gave him some pointers, told him about ACFW, and gave him her email address. Talk about a God moment. The guy didn't even live in our area. He was only here visiting.

Mentoring is as much a part of writing as writing itself. We've all been helped along the way. There are those who have taken us under their wing, given advice, critiqued our work. All of it plays into making us better writers.

Do you have a mentor in your life? Are you mentoring someone God has put in your path? How has mentoring shaped you and helped you as a writer?

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I wish I was off to Tulsa, Oklahoma...well except for spring tornados. My home for 17 years.

    Have fun and learn a lot.

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  2. Have fun Mindy. I do have a mentor. It is nice when people give of themselves, their knowledge and time to work with others.

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